Comment On The Big Picture Thinker, A JavaScript-like Job, and The Job Opportunity

The Big Picture Thinker (from James S) After an in-person technical interview, we decided to advance a candidate to the next step in our hiring process, which is a brief, one-page written test with some relatively easy (or, easy to look-up) technical questions. It's designed mostly to gauge written communication, since our developers often interface directly with clients. [expand full text]
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Re: The Big Picture Thinker, A JavaScript-like Job, and The Job Opportunity

2011-06-10 11:35 • by Anonymous Coward (unregistered)
349645 in reply to 349644
"13 per day on average

Sounds about right for a city of 500k"

I've just checked - the actual answer is 8 per day - pretty damn close!

Re: The Big Picture Thinker, A JavaScript-like Job, and The Job Opportunity

2011-06-13 13:52 • by zenstain (unregistered)
349821 in reply to 348741
Oh that's ok, I believe Steve X went on to become head of Microsoft.

Re: The Big Picture Thinker, A JavaScript-like Job, and The Job Opportunity

2011-06-15 23:17 • by e john (unregistered)
Thomas B. had easily the best and most correct reponse to the nitwit interview process (NIP) that I have seen in years.

Re: The Big Picture Thinker, A JavaScript-like Job, and The Job Opportunity

2011-06-15 23:33 • by e john (unregistered)
350185 in reply to 348838
shift happens.

Re: The Big Picture Thinker, A JavaScript-like Job, and The Job Opportunity

2011-06-15 23:56 • by e john (unregistered)
350186 in reply to 349644
Anonymous Coward:
"1. How many people are born in this city every minute? "

Estimate population - UK is about 50 million, so my big city is about 500k
Halve it to remove men = 250k
Assume equal number of people of each age
Assume people die at 75
Use assumptions to remove people not likely to be pregnant - those < 16 years or > 45 years old - so remove 45 years worth of people in 250k group = 110k
Assume 5% of 'pregnant capable' women are pregnant now = 5k (biggest uninformed guess I've made)
Assume they have even distribution of dates to give birth = 5k/365 = 13 per day on average

Sounds about right for a city of 500k.

Estimation, showing assumptions and methodology, is not a useless skill.

Alas, the question was how many were born every MINUTE, not every day ... so ... ah ...

Anyway, it was a very nice estimate.

Re: The Big Picture Thinker, A JavaScript-like Job, and The Job Opportunity

2011-06-20 05:40 • by Something Like That Guy (unregistered)
350449 in reply to 348712

The first guy was spot on. Not only was that an outfit of junior achievers who clearly wasn't competent enough to be able to tell if he was competent or not, they wanted him to fill out an asinine written test and didn't even manage to attach the test!

The fail here is completely on the side of the recruiting company.

I have to laugh at these companies who are offering the programming equivalent of a "fry cook opportunity" and think that engineers should jump thru hoops and answer asinine questions.

If you're any good, it becomes immediately obvious when you're dealing with a company that is being run by idiots. For me, the first clue is usually wanting to do a phone interview. If you can't tell from my resume that you want to bring me in, either I've targeted my search very wrong, or you're just not qualified to determine if I'm qualified.

I'm not arrogant, though and so I submit to phone interviews- and more often than not, my expectations are confirmed: They're just throwing interviews at people and are going to hire the one who makes it thru the battery without confusing any of their junior programmer interviewers. They have no idea how to tell if someone is competent or not... because they themselves are incompetent.

Never do a technical interview over the phone. Get a sense of personality, fine. Have a chat, fine. Say "have you ever worked with frobozz extractors", fine. But never "if your frobozz extractor is on the fritz, which widget do you twiddle?"

I stopped putting my livelihood in the hands of other people years ago because I got tired of dealing with this crap. I've done much better starting my own business... but back when I was willing to work for others, it was astounding how clueless recruiters and most companies were, and how arrogant they treated recruits.

Here this guy is arrogantly asking him to do something very pedestrian, and you're going "WTF" when he calls you on it? That's the very definition of being so incompetent that you're unqualified to judge competence.

Submitting it to WTF just shows you're an idiot.

Re: The Big Picture Thinker, A JavaScript-like Job, and The Job Opportunity

2011-06-20 05:45 • by Something Like That Guy (unregistered)
350451 in reply to 348726
When you're applying for a job, here's what you don't do:

1. Act like a complete jackass.

Seriously, there is no way I would ever hire someone who did this. Apparently this was such a great test for seeing how someone handles written communication that it works even when you forget to send it.

It absolutely works! The amazing thing is, you don't even realize you've been discovered for being a jackass, and then you submit it to TDWTF!

The hilarious thing is you're presuming the person applying for the job has no standards, no self respect, and is desperate.

So much of the interviewing process is conducted by people who are so arrogant-- such jackasses-- that they will waste the candidates time because they presume candidates are desperate to work for them.

This letter is proof that there are candidates with self esteem. It being submitted to TDWTF is proof that even when it is pointed out to them, jackasses never realize that they are jackasses.

Re: The Big Picture Thinker, A JavaScript-like Job, and The Job Opportunity

2011-06-21 04:22 • by The Poop... of DOOM (unregistered)
350572 in reply to 348707
I get letters like that last one from headhunters all the time. They just blast to everyone on the job board who has even a single word in common with the job req; ignoring salary, geography, and actual relevant skills-matches.

I *hate* headhunters!

My brother and I got that too. I'm happily employed as a developer and he's not-so-happily employed as a helpdesk drone. I want to stay where I am now, he wants to leave helpdesk behind and go on to become server or network admin (and is more than capable of doing so).

There're some headhunter agencies that often send both of us job offers... Both of us the SAME job offers, even though we got completely different skillsets. Hell, I'm not even looking for another job. We both mark it as spam each and every time, cause... well... it is.

Headhunters are like a bad blowjob. They latch on and no matter how much you tug and pull to get free, they won't let go!

Re: The Big Picture Thinker, A JavaScript-like Job, and The Job Opportunity

2011-06-21 05:33 • by The Poop... of DOOM (unregistered)
350579 in reply to 348783
Smarty McSmartyPants:
Captain Oblivious:
I'm on Guy 1s side too. Use little puzzles and tests on CS grads fresh out of school. someone who has been successfully developing software for 10 plus years should have more significant deeper lines of questioning in interviews. No wonder he was insulted. Granted his response was a bit over the top. Probably hit the send button by mistake.
Hiring managers and tech interviewers, tailor your interviews to the percieved level of the interviewer

I've had too many people with 10+ years of whatever fail basic and simple tests. Not puzzles where the trick is having seen the puzzle before, but tests. For C or C++ create a simple function to insert a record into a linked list. I don't care if C++ comes with built in libraries for linked lists, the point of the test is to see if you understand what a pointer is. I can't count how many 10+ years with C/C++ folks I've not even come close to being able to do this without committing terrible logical errors.

Now that's interesting. Where do you rate trivial, obvious syntax errors, assuming the logic is correct?

Rating: Trivial. You may be underestimating the kind of wholesale failure we're talking about here...

I also thought it was "interesting" that "hardcore" veterans with a decade of experience were wholly unable to write passable code in their language of choice. Even if one allowed for "language of choice" to be typo-riddled magical unicorn psuedo-code. They don't know wtf they're talking about, at all. Noticing this becoming a recurring pattern rendered it more obnoxious than interesting, further degrading my already rapidly dwindling faith in humanity.

People lie. A lot. Believe the hype.

At my previous job, the pointy-haired (well, baldy) boss hired a second developer. That guy was so full of bullshit I'm amazed the boss didn't see it.

Guy was about 24 years old, said he's had 5 years of experience. He worked at a company I worked at several years earlier, apparently before AND after I worked there, but only one of both. I still don't fully understand what he means! He also finished a college degree that takes 4 years. So in total, after finishing highschool and all that, he'd be around 28 years old, instead of 24.

He also claimed to have made his own CMS in .NET, that performance was his key interest. Why oh why does that CMS put every single site made in it on the same hosting, same DB and everything?

When he arrived, he actually refused to write any code. He claimed he should just be able to download everything online and do a couple of clicks to set everything up. I HAD to teach him how to use the APIs and tools we use, so I tried to have him make a very simple contact form. I even gave him example code of which he just had to change some variable names AND actually opened the page with the most important function call's documentation. At the evening, he still didn't have his contact form. He didn't even know -- even though the documentation clearly stated so -- that that function call had a return value!

Instead of actually doing his job and program, he wasted my time trying to start endless, useless discussions. Stuff like setting text in contents in bold or italic is a designer's task, not a content manager's task (I'm not kidding! He actually claimed that!). He also kept spewing bullshit like "his ambition" being becoming a web developer.

And all the while, the boss there kept going on about what a clever guy that is...

Re: The Big Picture Thinker, A JavaScript-like Job, and The Job Opportunity

2011-07-12 03:16 • by Volodya (unregistered)
Actually the true WTF was that a person with 20 years of experience is getting a run around and *then* an incompetent person doesn't even know how to attach the test to the e-mail.

If people in HR do not know how to spot the good candidate, they should fire themselves.

Re: The Big Picture Thinker, A JavaScript-like Job, and The Job Opportunity

2011-07-27 10:06 • by cid (unregistered)
If I were Robin, I'd respond. Enthusiastically.

Re: The Big Picture Thinker, A JavaScript-like Job, and The Job Opportunity

2011-10-23 01:21 • by Mook (unregistered)
364108 in reply to 348714
After going through many interviews with junior people who have no idea how to interview, much less judge talent, I'm very much in Thomas B's side. The posting is even funnier because the maroon James somehow thinks he's shown Thomnas up by posting this. In fact, he's showing what a total incompetent he is: he has no idea he's been served and pwned by Thomas B.

Work with you ANY day, Thomas.

Re: The Big Picture Thinker, A JavaScript-like Job, and The Job Opportunity

2011-10-23 01:27 • by Mook (unregistered)
364109 in reply to 348862
The Tao gave birth to machine language. Machine language gave birth to the assembler.

The assembler gave birth to the compiler. Now there are ten thousand languages.

Each language has its purpose, however humble. Each language expresses the Yin and Yang of software. Each language has its place within the Tao.

But do not program in COBOL if you can avoid it.

Be wary of any programmer cursing a particular language. While it is easier to write good code in some, the quality of the code depends ultimately on the programmer. An experienced programmer may criticize PHP's flat and inconsistently named global function namespace, Javascript's poor DOM traversal or both languages' haphazard object orientation, but when someone rants that a certain language simply "sucks", it is just as likely that they can't use that language very well.

Eh, I rant about Java quite heavily... simply because there are better alternatives (such as C#) that do the same thing... for practically EVERYTHING that Java does, there is a better alternative: hence, it sucks. It is inferior to its competitors overall, and Java itself doesn't appear to have been designed very well - it can be extremely frustrating to use in many situations, whereas using even C++ in the same situations is quite easy (I actually enjoy using C++).

Aren't you precious and precocious, my little C++ stud muffin.

Re: The Big Picture Thinker, A JavaScript-like Job, and The Job Opportunity

2011-11-03 17:41 • by Spitting Mole (unregistered)
365698 in reply to 348800
I think that many people assumed that if someone is applying for a job, he must be currently unemployed. Maybe he was just looking for a better job. There is no good reason to ask trivial questions when you are looking for someone with 10+ years experience. The liars may be able to answer them and the qualified ones will get offended.

Because they feel that they are doing the prospective employer a favour by applying, they tend to be arrogant and upset said employer.

Still much less common than employers thinking and behaving like they are doing a favor to the emloyee and employers underpaying and treating their employees like sh*t and then crying they can't find enough qualified workers.

Re: A bad blow

2011-11-14 15:20 • by Marnen Laibow-Koser (unregistered)
366723 in reply to 348859
If it doesn't get better, then ur doin it rong. I'm primarily a server-side developer, but I'm constantly amazed at the hate on JavaScript. *When you use it properly*, it's a really nice language. If it's not feeling really nice, sharpen the saw by learning more about the language. (And use CoffeeScript if you can -- the standard syntax is not appropriate to the structure of the language.)

Re: The Big Picture Thinker, A JavaScript-like Job, and The Job Opportunity

2012-01-26 18:09 • by Reow (unregistered)
LMAO re 'Big Picture Thinker'. You guys had your arses handed to you and are so ignorant that you didn't even realize it. I think this is the first self-pwntage I've seen on TDWTF!

Re: The Big Picture Thinker, A JavaScript-like Job, and The Job Opportunity

2012-10-04 11:54 • by Cbuttius
391623 in reply to 348787
I have a short list of 'bullshit detector' questions I ask on the first interview, which includes, "What might be more efficient, finding an element in an array or a linked list?"

I know what you're thinking - terrible question, it depends on so many factors. Are the elements sorted? Is it a singly linked list or a skip list? How big is the list? What does efficient even mean (run time, storage, cache effects...) And on and on. If you start asking questions like this, or even touch on any of these topics while giving an answer, I am satisfied and will move on.

Array, every time.

If the array is sorted, you can use binary search for a start as you have random access.

But let's assume it is not sorted, so the complexity of the lookup is the same as the list. However traversing an array is far more efficient than traversing a list, as you are going to get fewer page faults. This would be the case whether you use pointer arithmetic (with C or C++ as the language) or index arithmetic. Pointer arithmetic is likely to be slightly more efficient.

A linked list is more efficient than an array on the whole in only one operation, that being insertion and deletion in the middle. If you want to maintain a sorted collection, you would be better off using a binary tree (which is not a linked list). The other place where a linked list can be more efficient is when you have to allocate more memory, although in this case a double-ended queue, which is essentially usually implemented in a "paged" manner, is more efficient.

In C++, a vector must be contiguous. In Java or C#, the implementation is on a virtual machine so an array or vector does not have to actually be contiguous, the standard is just that random access is constant time. You get that too with a std::deque underlying implementation.

Re: The Big Picture Thinker, A JavaScript-like Job, and The Job Opportunity

2013-12-07 21:01 • by Zip (unregistered)
422983 in reply to 348708
Actually, I think you do. Getting a generic job offer letter like that would be beyond insulting.
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